The market of wind energy storage

Significant opportunities will come over the next few years from the energy storage market, worth $1.1 billion by 2015. The latter was stated in a report from Energy Storage Opportunities in the Wind Power Industry, compiled by the analyst NanoMarkets.

This specific market will be driven by the rapid growth of wind farm generation, whose potential is limited by its natural instability, actually its major technical drawback. In other words, the challenge consists in making the increasing wind energy capacity coincident with electricity network peak demand times.

This is why large-scale plants need to store the energy produced by wind turbines either at night or when there is low network demand.

The new market will most likely centre on China, which has planned to increase by 10 times its wind farm generation over the next ten years, developing large storage facilities that will support network modernization.

China is expected to concentrate one third of the world’s storage market, mainly for the benefit of rising Chinese companies, though significant opportunities will also be offered to Western firms.

As for storage technologies, though the widely used and less costly lead-acid batteries will still prevail, more efficient accumulators will progressively become more popular over the next few years.

In particular, NanoMarkets mentions flow, sulphur-sodium and lead-carbon batteries, also specifying that special “wind energy storage” facilities can be developed, equipped with hydropower pumping and compressed air systems.

NanoMarkets’ Smart Grid Analysis believes that as the result of all this, there is a large and growing opportunity for energy storage firms of many kinds to sell into the rapidly growing wind energy sector and this report analyzes and quantifies those opportunities.

Energy storage adds value and reduces risk for the wind energy industry by decoupling wind energy production and energy demand. It makes wind turbines less dependent on the weather, enabling it to be sold at better prices. Storage also helps optimize the use of scarce grid capacity, improving the opportunity for selling wind farm generated to users in different parts of the country or even different countries.